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Use carrots not sticks to engage parents in schools says Prospects

14 July 2015

Prospects, the education, employment and skills company, responds to the head of Ofsted, Sir Michael Wilshaw’s, comments that parents who do not engage with their children’s schools should be shamed and even fined (the Independent, 2 July) by suggesting that a proven way to reengage parents with their children’s education could achieve more.

Andrew Thraves, Director of Prospects Education, said:
“Sir Michael Wilshaw is right to advocate the importance of parents’ engagement with their children’s education. Anecdotally we know that children of parents who make a point of being involved with their education and are encouraged for the future, go on to achieve more. Indeed the importance of this is recognised through the new Common Inspection Framework from this September which requires schools to ensure there is engagement with parents which helps them to understand how children and learners are progressing in relation to the standards expected and what they need to do to improve. We know that carrots can be more effective than sticks so to help schools evidence a sustained approach to parental engagement, which meets Ofsted criteria, and ensures parents have a positive experience of the school, at Prospects we have developed the Leading Parent Partnership Award (LPPA).

“The LPPA is a national award for educational settings committed to investing in parents and carers for the achievement of pupils and strengthening a school or academy’s work in this area. There can be many reasons that parents don’t engage with schools from their own negative personal education experience to lack of time. Instead of punishing parents – and perhaps further engraining their prejudices – we suggest schools use awards such as the LPPA to engage parents and break the cycle of disengagement from education.”

Delivered through a clear framework but with a flexible approach, the LPPA enables schools and academies to identify strengths and areas for development then address these to achieve embedded and sustainable best practice. The integrated whole school approach to parental engagement means parents and carers who might traditionally find working with the school difficult can participate to achieve significant impact in areas such as improving two-way communication, promoting a positive learning environment, improving attendance, punctuality, behaviour and pupil progress. A new award for harder to reach parents has been developed and helps education settings to implement strategies to ensure all parents are engaged in their children’s education.

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Notes to Editor

About Prospects
The Prospects Group is a dynamic and enterprising organisation providing a wide range of education, employment and skills services in the UK and internationally. At the heart of what we do is the drive to improve the life chances, skills and aspirations of everyone we support. Each year we support more than 500,000 young people and adults.

Media contact:
Jayne Runacres
Senior Communications Manager
020 8315 1023

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